PATEROS, Wash. - Two weeks ago Jim Otis lost everything he owned to the Carlton Complex fire. But, like the rest of the city of Pateros, he says he'll rebuild and move on.
"I grabbed what little stuff I could out the house, little bit of clothes, and some other things, and evacuated to the fire department," said Otis.
When he returned home he found a pile of ash and rubble. Otis says he'll be moving to Yakima to start a new chapter. However, in the debris, he was able to salvage a few precious memories.
"I did find my father's sharpening stone that he taught me how to sharpen knives with when I was like nine years old, so that was really nice to find there," said Otis.
Friends and community members have been willing to lend at hand to Otis at every turn.
"I connected with a childhood friend. He called me up and said I could have a place to stay.," said Otis.
"Just through the generosity of my friends. I have a friend in Orville that helped me, I have a friend in Alaska that helped me."
Despite it all, Otis says losing his home is far from the worst thing to happen to him. Three years ago he died from sudden cardiac arrest for 15 minutes. He had a stroke, and had to be shocked three times to come back.
"I bounced back from that, so there's worse days," said Otis.
Two weeks after lightning started the Carlton Complex fire, it is 81 percent contained. It's burned over 250,000 acres and has destroyed around 300 homes.
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